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Market Fresh: Amp up your "same old" with fresh field peas


Anne Freeze



The Hitching Lot Farmers' Market in Columbus was bursting to the seams last Saturday with goodies. Peas (that would be purple hull), corn, tomatoes, green beans, okra, cantaloupe and more! I laugh every time I open my refrigerator; you'd think I was cooking for a Thanksgiving crowd rather than two pudgy old people.  


So, I try and amp it up a little so Terry won't tire of the same-old leftovers night after night. I really enjoy all sorts of field peas, and I enjoy them mixed with other vegetables or made into cakes. A very popular dish from my former business was our black-eyed pea cakes with red pepper mayonnaise. I am adapting it below to use purple hull peas. Also feel free to experiment -- substitute cornbread crumbs for the breadcrumbs or add fresh herbs of your choice. Frank Stitt of Birmingham, Alabama, has a recipe for field cakes that he serves with tomato salsa. 


Field peas also make a great salad. If you have a recipe for the classic Southern dip, Texas Caviar, which uses black-eyed peas, just substitute market fresh purple hull peas and add fresh corn cut off of the cob.  


I hope you enjoy these! 








3 heaping cups of purple hull peas (cooked and drained) 


1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped 


1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter 


1 large garlic clove, minced 


3/4 cups fresh (soft) breadcrumbs 


1 large egg, lightly beaten 


1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (or substitute other herb) 


1 tablespoon ground cumin 


2 teaspoons coarse salt 


3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, plus additional for dusting 


1/2 cup mayonnaise 




  • Mash half of the peas in a bowl with a fork and stir in remaining peas. Cook red peppers in butter, stirring, until barely softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Transfer 1/3 of pepper mixture to a bowl and cool. Set aside for red pepper mayo. 


  • Stir remaining pepper mixture into peas with breadcrumbs, cilantro, egg, cumin and salt. Scoop enough into the palm of your hand (1 tablespoon for appetizer size). Mixture will be soft and moist. Form into a patty. Put it on a try and form more patties in same manner, arranging in one layer.  


  • Dip patties, one at a time, into cornmeal, turning gently to coat, and transfer as coated to a tray lined with waxed paper or parchment and dusted with cornmeal. Chill patties, covered, at least two hours and up to eight. 


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot, but not smoking, then cook cakes until golden. n Put cakes as cooked in one layer in a large shallow baking pan. Between batches, carefully wipe skillet clean with paper towels and add more oil. Stir mayonnaise into reserved red pepper mixture and season with salt and pepper. Serve cakes hot and topped with mayonnaise. 








    1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices 


    6 cups assorted fresh field peas 


    1/2 pound small, fresh whole okra 


    12 fresh basil leaves, torn 


    Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 




  • Saute andouille in a Dutch oven over medium heat 5 minutes or until lightly browned. 


  • Add field peas and water to cover 1 inch above peas; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20 minutes. Add okra; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until okra and peas are tender. Stir in basil and salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with a slotted spoon. 


    (Source: Southern Living magazine)



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